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NEA President: ESSA empowers educators and students to return their focus to teaching and learning in the classroom

Lily Eskelsen García to testify on the Every Student Succeeds Act

WASHINGTON - May 18, 2016 -

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García will go before the U. S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the role the Department of Education, states, and school districts must play to ensure success.

Congress passed the bipartisan ESSA after listening to the voices of educators speaking on behalf of their students’ needs. Since president Obama signed the bill into law, NEA has been working closely with members, state and local policymakers, as well as other key stakeholders, to deliver on the promise of ESSA to provide more opportunities for all students regardless of ZIP code.

Below are select highlights from Eskelsen García’s prepared testimony:

“…Educators, across the country, welcome the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) as a critical juncture in education—a chance to reduce and eliminate opportunity gaps and inject the expertise of educators into decisions that impact teaching and learning in the classroom. Much as we were committed to the passage of this law and ending the era of test and punish, our members stand united on ensuring that we make the best decisions for students as states and districts move forward with the important work of implementation.

“…ESSA has already reinvigorated the national conversation about equal opportunity for all our students, no matter what zip code they live in. But that is not enough. I will focus today on what we must do to fulfill ESSA’s potential to be a game changer with regard to accountability, state and local flexibility, and doing right by the students most in need.”

“…At this critical juncture, the devil is in the details. Those details are complex, as is our mission: developing new state accountability systems built around multiple measures, not just standardized test scores. For ESSA to fulfill its potential to be a game changer for students, the new accountability systems must be developed collaboratively, with the input of all stakeholders.”

“…ESSA has opened window to a new direction for students and schools. While that path is challenging, with challenge comes opportunity—and responsibility.”

The rest of Eskelsen García’s testimony, as prepared for delivery, is available by clicking on the following link.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

Contact: Celeste Fernandez Busser, Senior Press Officer
National Education Association
1201 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202-262-0589 (c)
202-822-7259 (o)